Highways England has been improving access in the New Forest for residents, walkers and cyclists along a main street in Ringwood, ahead of its work to widen the A31 in the area.
The work, which is being carried out by Hampshire County Council on behalf of Highways England, will improve safety and accessibility for non-motorists and will begin the process that will ultimately see access from West street to the A31 closed.
At the same time, the footpath will be widened along the north side of the street, and a new footway built over the ‘brick bridge.’ Highways England is planning further footway and cycleway improvements to coincide with its main scheme to improve capacity on the A31.
Funding for the scheme comes from Highways England’s designated funds. Additional funding can be applied for from this pot and used alongside the main scheme to make potential improvements that will have a positive impact on local communities.
To keep disruption to a minimum for residents of Ringwood, Highways England is bringing forward the work planned for West Street. This much anticipated work will now start on Monday 15 February and is scheduled to finish by the end of July 2021. The work includes:
- Widening the footpath along the west side of West Street to improve accessibility for cyclists and walkers
- New kerbs and environmental planting
- Building a new footpath over the ‘brick bridge’
- Widening the footpath over the ‘old Stony’ bridge
- Introducing new priority give way signs at both bridges to accompany the new and improved footpaths over them
- Resurfacing both bridges
- Laying new electrical cable along the length of West Street in advance of the main A31 work.
- Highways England will be putting up signage on the A31 to advise drivers of the West Street closure.
Highways England Project Manager for the A31 improvement scheme, Daniel Kittredge said: “We are delighted to be able to fund this work along West Street and improve cycling and pedestrian access for the residents of Ringwood. We have worked hard with Hampshire County Council to cover as much work as possible at this time and minimise disruption to local residents.
“It’s exciting to see this work get underway, which will not only improve the environment of West Street but also enable us to complete essential cable diversions which is necessary to get ready for the main A31 upgrade work.”
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “Hampshire County Council has been working collaboratively with New Forest District Council and Ringwood Town Council to develop a programme of small-scale measures that support the Ringwood Town Access Plan. These measures will help improve pedestrian and cycle safety, while ensuring good access to the town remains after the closure of West Street.”